Lancangjiang (Mekong) is characterized as an inland, boundary and international river. The Lancangjiang basin in Yunnan is located in the west of this province, including 7 prefectures and 39 counties or cities. Vegetation in this area is featured by vertical distribution and zonation, owning to the complicated terrain and physiognomy, and the variant climates in this area. Land cover is also much diversified. Ninety-five percent of this basin is mountainous area. Eighty-three percent of the people in this area are minority people (totally 18 minorities), stereoscopically scattering in the mountains. Hitherto, land is their main resource of subsistence and production. Different minority land use traditions have made a diversification in the land use pattern. Therefore, to pursue a developing strategy of sustainable and reasonable use of land resources in such a multi-cultural environment is the key to strengthening nationality unity, seeking equal opportunity of escaping from poverty and getting well-off, and achieving a common prosperity and richness of all nationalities.
This study used remote sensing, geographic information system, global positioning system (3 S) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in model areas to investigate the spatial-temporal dynamic superposition of the land use status and spatial structure evolvement in Xishuangbanna, the integral evolvement of the spatial-temporal dynamics of the forests and the land use changes in the basin between 1990 and 1998, as well as the driving forces behind the changes. Based on the study, we have brought forward some viewpoints on problems concerning land use, humanland system evolvement and the basin development in the background of multi-nationality culture.